Hello, it is finally time for me to share a bit again about the World Travel Market, today I am telling you about the World Responsible Tourism Awards.
The award founded in 2004 has been at the Eleventh edition and it is becoming more and more significant every year. It has been a truly inspirational, I am glad I went to the ceremony, it was exactly what I needed. I want to WIN the Responsible Tourism Awards in maximum 3 years, maybe I should consider also 5 years time if I want it with an Italian project, but we will see.
Justin Francis, managing director of responsibletravel.com and founder of the awards says “The awards rest on a simple principle that all types of tourism, from niche to mainstream, can and should be organized in such a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and locals” – written as reported on TTG@WTM 6.11.2014.
How does it work? An individual, company or destination only needs to be nominated by one member of the public in order to be considered, the long list is then whittled down into a shortlist that is judged by an expert panel.
actually winners are Campo and Parque dos Sonhos and South African Animal Sanctuary. Both winners demonstrate that is possible to address the rights agenda, to swim against the tide and to be commercially successful.
This year winners are divided into several categories, in my opinion, the most interesting are
poverty reduction, animal welfare initiative, aviation carbon reduction, city hotel, engaging people and culture, people with disabilities and wildlife conservation, but all the categories deserve to be mentioned. Here you are the winners!
1. Best Poverty Reduction: Adventure Alternative (UK).
“Adventure Alternative is more than just an expedition company that climbs mountains – it moves them too”.
Adventure Alternative WTM responsible tourism Award 2014
2. Best Animal Welfare Initiative: World Animal Protection and South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance.
World Animal Protection has fought against the use of wild animals in tourism, working with tour operators to end elephant rides on holidays. South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance (SAASA) have founded sanctuaries where abused animals are kept in protective habitats, free from exploitation, to live normal healthy lives.
Best for Animal Welfare Initiative WTM responsible tourism Award
3.Best aviation program for Carbon Reduction: Thomson Airways.
“They provide a replicable and integrated model that could and should be emulated elsewhere” improving carbon efficiency by 7.4%.
Best for Aviation programme WTM responsible tourism Award
4. Best for Beach Tourism: Chole Mjini Conservation & Development Co Ltd (Zanzibar).
“Chole Mjini has enabled the running of a health center, kindergarten, learning center plus provision of education scholarships”. It employs local staff, sources locally and has worked to conservative wildlife.
5. Best City Hotel: Hotel Verde (South Africa).
Hotel Verde aspire to be Africa’s Greenest Hotel’ and it is clear this is a commitment they share with every guest, delegate & supplier. A true example to follow! I am very impressed by this hotel, I have found the perfect example to give to people asking for how to be more sustainable.
Hotel Verde best for city hotel WTM responsible tourism Award 2014
6. Best Cultural Heritage, Silver Award Winner: Festivals of Puebla (Mexico).
“In a fast-changing world these festivals have refueled local people’s pride in their own history”.
7. Best Engaging People and Culture: Kutch adventures (India).
“A highly replicable approach requiring little capital, based on creating encounters founded in respect & responsibility”.
Best for Engagement WTM responsible tourism Award
8. Best for people with disabilities, joint gold winners: Campo & Parque dos Sonhos and Cavan Town & Environs.
“Campo & Parque dos Sonhos is setting the Brazilian and international bar for accessibility”, “Cavan Town and Environs have gone far beyond ramps and disabled toilets with major efforts to provide an accessible tourism experience.
best for people with disabilities WTM responsible tourism Award
9. Best Destination: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town (South Africa).
V&A Waterfront has introduced sustainable green business practices and even requires its tenants to green their operations too.
10. Best wildlife conservation: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours, Australia.
“Over 16 years Echidna has used their unique method to identify koala visually without the need of invasive methods”.
11. Best Short Film: Travel Oregon- John Day River Territory (US).
The Travel Oregon’s film explains beautifully what the place is about: values of community and why tourism is important are powerfully conveyed.
12. People's Choice Award
Nam Nern Night Safari (Laos) is your winner. The judge liked Nam Nern Night Safari because of its benefit for both communities & wildlife.
I am glad I attended the ceremony during the World Travel Market in London, it has been very inspiring to be part of this event, to see how many people are working & inspired by the same passion for sustainability and responsible tourism. I suggest all the students and professionals at the beginning of their career like me, to attend next year event and to get in touch. This event plus meeting the winners, organizers & Justin Francis (the founder of the awards) has been absolutely motivating.